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Learning in the primary years sets patterns for future growth, both in fundamental skills and in the areas of curiosity, motivation, and problem-solving. Lower School boys develop their knowledge and skills in all aspects of growth: physical, social, emotional, and intellectual. A dynamic curriculum, coupled with a commitment to meet the needs of each child, makes the Lower School an inspiring place for learning.
Collegiate’s Lower School does not lend itself to labels such as traditional or progressive. Developmentally appropriate for young boys, the program is structured and challenging yet flexible and comfortable. The boys enjoy coming to school and participating in a vibrant school community.
Lower School classrooms are self-contained. A talented and dedicated head teacher in each class directs the curriculum in language arts, mathematics, social studies, and respect and responsibility. They are supported by associate teachers, learning specialists, psychologists, and librarians. Subject teachers provide instruction in art, music, physical education, science, and technology. Small group instruction is a fundamental of Collegiate’s Lower School. The boys work in groups of twelve or fewer for a good portion of the school day, and within these groups the work is often individualized.
Just as our boys are learners, so too are the teachers. Working in grade level teams or as a divisional faculty, the curriculum is regularly reviewed and modified. Individuals or groups of teachers regularly attend professional development workshops, conferences, or graduate level courses.
Communication between parents and teachers is an important part of a young student’s education. The teachers are easily reachable by phone, email, or in person. Curriculum Night in October along with weekly classroom newsletters provide parents with information about the year’s curriculum. Each family has a conference with the classroom teachers in November and additional conferences are scheduled as needed throughout the year. Written progress reports are sent home in January and June. Grades are not given in the Lower School.

Student Life

After-School Program
The Flying Dutchmen, Collegiate’s after-school program, offers courses such as chess, martial arts, drama, technology, photography, science, cooking, hip hop dancing, woodworking, and a variety of sports. Open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade, the program runs on a semester basis. Classes are held at Collegiate and at several off-campus locations. In addition, students in grades 1-4 can take music lessons through the Collegiate Conservatory of Music. Instruments available to study include violin, viola, cello, double bass, classical piano, jazz piano, drum set, Afro-Cuban drumming, banjo, guitar, and electric bass.

Bi-weekly assemblies for all Lower School students take place throughout the school year. The programs vary in nature and may involve presentations by faculty members or guest speakers and music showcases featuring student performers. Each grade directs one assembly during the year which highlights classroom projects and activities. 

Kindergarten and Fourth-Grade Buddies
Each fourth grade student is assigned a kindergarten buddy at the beginning of the school year. Buddies meet regularly and collaborate on a variety of projects and activities. This mentoring relationship between the oldest and youngest students in the division plays a meaningful role in each student’s Lower School experience.

Community Service
Community service is an intrinsic part of the Collegiate experience. As part of its mission, Collegiate is committed to guiding boys to develop habits of caring for and helping others. Lower School students participate in group community service projects and boys commonly come up with their own ideas about ways to serve one another and the wider community.
Whether helping to clean Riverside Park, collecting donations for the needy, making sure that Collegiate is a “green” community, helping neighborhood and city-wide organizations such as The West Side Campaign against Hunger and City Meals on Wheels, or raising funds to support a variety of causes, Lower School students are actively involved in assisting the broader community.